Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Get More Out of Worship

Michael Brown
Wednesday, November 1st 2017
Nov/Dec 2017
  1. REMEMBER THAT WORSHIP PLEASES THE LORD. Too often, we are preoccupied with how we feel about worship. If we enjoy worship, then we’re more prone to go. If we think it’s dull and boring, then we find it easier to stay home or do something else. The problem with that attitude is that it is self-centered—it begins with me and how I feel about worship, rather than with God and what pleases him. Start by remembering that God commands his people to “come into his presence with singing” and “enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Ps. 100). We go to worship because it pleases the Lord.
  2. EXPECT TO HEAR FROM GOD. Come ready to receive food for your soul. Word and sacrament are God’s chosen means to persevere in the Christian life. God says, “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live” (Isa. 55:3). It is through the preaching of Christ that our faith is strengthened (Rom. 10:14–17), and it is through the Lord’s Supper that we commune with the body and blood of Jesus (1 Cor. 10:16). We go to worship to be served by the living God.
  3. LAY OUT YOUR THINGS THE NIGHT BEFORE. We do this when we need to be somewhere important the next morning (work, school, and so on). Why not do the same for the most important event of the week? This is especially wise for families with small children. Who needs the stress on Sunday morning of searching frantically for matching socks or clean clothes?
  4. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST. A full eight hours (or something close to it) will help us come to church feeling refreshed and ready to worship. Of course, some of us can’t remember the last time we had a full eight, right? Indeed, some things we can’t control. But others we can, such as not staying up too late on Saturday night. It comes down to setting straight our priorities.
  5. READ THE TEXT BEFOREHAND. If you have time on Sunday morning, try reading the passage that will be preached in the morning service. On Sunday afternoons, read the evening text. (This is also a great way to help children prepare for worship.) Doing so might help you be more engaged with the Scripture as it’s being read and explained during the service. You can often find the whole liturgy for both services on your church’s website.
  6. PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR. The apostle Paul asked the church at Colossae to pray for him so he might make the word clear to the people of God (Col. 4:3–4). How much more does your pastor need your prayers to do the same? Pray that the Lord will grant him profitable hours of study during the week, free from distractions. Pray that he will have insight into the Scriptures, rightly applying the text to our lives, and faithfully pointing us to the person and work of Christ. Pray that he will have clarity of speech in the pulpit and boldness to preach both the law and the gospel. Pray that he will seek to apply the message to himself.
  7. PRAY FOR YOURSELF. Pray that God will grant you a humble heart to receive what God has to say to you in the preaching of his word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin, assure you of your salvation in Christ, and motivate you to live in joyful obedience to God. Pray that you will not harden your heart to the word, or be a mere hearer and not a doer (James 1:22). Pray that the word will transform you by the renewal of your mind (Rom. 12:2).
  8. TALK ABOUT THE SERMON AFTERWARDS. Start a conversation with your family or friends by asking questions. Avoid broad and subjective questions, such as if they liked the sermon or what they got out of it. Instead, try asking the following: What was the sermon about? What particular problem of the human heart did the sermon expose? How did it convict us of our sin? How did it reveal Christ as the solution to this particular problem of the heart? How did it teach us the way in which we are to live? Engage children by asking them about the basic elements of the sermon: Who wrote the letter/book the pastor preached from? Who/what was the sermon mainly about?
  9. ATTEND BOTH SERVICES. Attending both services allows us to hear more of the word and enjoy further fellowship with God’s people. Attending both services also helps us sanctify the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day is not merely the Lord’s “morning” or “evening,” but a whole day given to us for worship and rest. Your pastor has prepared two meals for your soul. Why not benefit from both of them?
  10. JUST SHOW UP. So, you stayed up too late on Saturday night, forgot to lay out your things, didn’t read the text or pray for your pastor or for yourself? You haven’t given much thought about worship this past week, and you feel like a big loser? Just come to church anyway. God knows what we need, far better than we do, and God has something good for us every time.
Wednesday, November 1st 2017

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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